Monday, September 29, 2014

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

In preparation for our Materials Review for Educators happening October 3rd starting at 9:00 am at Bear Pond Books, we're highlighting some of our favorites from our stack of 100 nonfiction books of 2014.

Candace Fleming, the award winning author of The Lincolns, Amelia Lost, and The Great and Only Barnum, shifts her gaze from United States history to Imperial Russia in her thoughtful, entertaining and scrupulously researched  book, The Family Romanov - Murder, Rebellion, and the Downfall of Imperial Russia.   

Opening in 1903 at St. Petersburg's Winter Palace, where the reclusive Czar Nicholas and the Empress Alexandra are hosting an opulent costume ball, the reader is lead through an increasingly hostile landscape as the discrepancy between the peasant and working class becomes exposed. Fleming weaves in the colorful stories of Lenin and Rasputin, detailing how they contributed to the inevitable fall of the royal family and all they represented.  

Fleming juxtaposes details of royal life with photographs and firsthand accounts from peasants and workers. Diaries and letters support the most moving storyline “Beyond the Palace Gates,” in which relevant accounts by starving peasants and exhausted workers stand in stark contrast to the cloistered experience of the Romanov family. 

There is an extensive bibliography and recommended online resources, including this collection of Royal Russia articles, photographs, and videos, and the Nicholas and Alexandra site, which includes a virtual tour of the Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia exhibition. There is a lot to explore in this book and beyond.

While intended for ages 12 and up, this will certainly appeal to adults as well.

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